EU calls Iran nuclear talks next month in bid to save deal



Brussels made a bid to buy more time to save the Iran nuclear deal Friday, calling a meeting for next month after Britain, France and Germany launched a dispute process.

The European capitals triggered the complaint mechanism last week after Tehran took a series of steps away from its commitments, in protest at the US pulling out of the accord in 2018.

This could have shortened the deal’s lifespan but Josep Borrell, the EU’s diplomatic chief, who is tasked with convening meetings under the dispute mechanism, has called new talks.

Borrell said he had consulted the countries still in the deal — which also include Russia and China — and that all are determined to save the accord.

The Iran nuclear deal has been crumbling since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, prompting the Islamic republic to announce a series of steps away from its commitments.

“Notwithstanding differences on modalities, there is agreement that more time is needed due to the complexity of the issues involved. The timeline is therefore extended,” Borrell said in a statement.

“All agreed to pursue expert-level discussions addressing the concerns regarding nuclear implementation, as well as the wider impacts of the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA and its re-imposition of sanctions.”

JCPOA is an acronym for the deal’s formal title, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Borrell said the so-called joint commission that oversees the deal and comprises representatives of all the countries involved will meet in February, though he did not give a precise date.

It usually meets in Vienna, though it can also meet in New York or Geneva.

– Room for manoeuvre –

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